The comparison between reality and illusion, between real and Maya, represents the very essence of spirituality. But what is “spirituality”? It is what goes beyond the material aspect of things, it is what keeps us in touch with our most human part, it is a positive attitude towards others and life, it is the coherent participation in a religious path, it is the aspiration towards self-improvement it is the ability to ask questions.

Gurus, yogis, spiritual teachers, in turn, rarely give a univocal and unchangeable definition for the duration of their teaching, because the characteristic of spirituality is also that of being a plastic material, changeable, continuously new in itself.
Falco Tarassaco says that spirituality is, above all, the ability to give meaning to things and events: neither the universe nor life are the result of randomness and to attribute value to the events around us is the first step in a spiritual journey.

It is not a matter of believing in something or doing rituals or meditating in silence, what is important is to understand that we live within a broader order, in which everyone is important in the midst of other important things. Damanhur can simply be considered a way to be spiritual, but there is also spirituality in many others places.

Reality vs Illusion

All definitions of spirituality, however, are in some way based on the distinction between reality and illusion. Reality is what is important, that has value beyond this life, which can transform our awareness. Illusion is all that has an ephemeral value, destined to disappear once we have consumed it. Our works, our experiences, our deep feelings are real, while money, success and the fulfillment of our desires is pure illusion.

Seen from another perspective, the difference can also be defined like this: all that is real accompanies you after death representing the wealth of precious experiences you have accumulated during your life. Everything that has simply happened to you is an illusion, as are your possessions, and what ever has made you experience feelings that you could not take with you. From the point of view of spirituality, therefore, everything that allows you to make real the definitions written above, and illusion, from this point of view, does not have anything to do with spirituality.
It’s all easy then! ☺

Good and evil?

But does it not seem to you that a definition like this, if taken literally, inevitably tends to distinguish between Good and Evil?
Meditation, solidarity, compassion, courage, altruism and research are certainly important, which are part of the real sphere and therefore spiritual.
But why do we think that other things such as money, pleasure, fun and power are irreparably condemned to be illusions?
And what about things like health, feelings, friendship, ambition, which have elements that seem to both favor and reduce our inner freedom, which of the two spheres does it belong to?

Make everything real

It is true that what is destined to vanish is illusion: to commit all one’s own energy to possess something which in reality will only serve to fill our senses and not our soul, is only a great deception. But since learning to give meaning to things, that is to say being spiritual, also means knowing how to attribute meaning to the larger number of things. That what apparently is Maya is only illusion, can turn into a profoundly real value.

The Damanhurian philosophy proposes to live everything with intensity, with meditation and with respect. Everything can be perceived, expressed and lived with participation, with awareness, without attachment, and everything can be transformed from illusion into reality. In life, what is important and what is trivial does not exist. It exists, if anything, if we know how to give value to things and if we live with little attachment. Here is another definition; spirituality is the art of making everything that we live real!